Borel Global Fellows

Aim and Scope: The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware has partnered with AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) to build a Master’s degree program to train African students in plant breeding, crop protection, soil science, agricultural economics, and other areas vital to food security in Africa. Made possible by a generous gift from Jim and Marcia Borel, the program provides opportunities for one to two students per year to complete an MS degree at the University of Delaware while conducting research in their home country in an area of critical need.

Current Focus: In response to identified needs in Africa, the 2018 focal areas are 1) plant breeding and genetics, and 2) agricultural economics. Of particular interest are projects that will lead to improvements in smallholder farm productivity. In plant breeding and genetics, emphasis is on germplasm characterization and development for deploying resistance to crop diseases and more broadly for strengthening plant breeding programs. For further details, see BGF-PLSC. In agricultural economics, emphasis is placed on using economic principles to analyze agricultural challenges in the home country. Potential areas of research include demand for improved seed varieties, crop input use, technological services related to agriculture, and agricultural and natural resource policy. For further details, see BGF-APEC for further details.

Program: Students will be recommended to start at the University of Delaware during the summer to acclimate and begin involvement in research or coursework (as much as 3 months in advance of the first semester). Following this, students will spend the next 12 months completing course work, developing research skills, and outlining a research project to be completed upon return to their home country. Students will spend approximately 12 additional months in their home country completing their research. The faculty mentor will travel to Africa during the second 12 months at a time appropriate to prepare the student for their thesis defense and the writing of their thesis.

Criteria, Eligibility:

  • African students with a BS degree (or equivalent) in plant science, agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics or a related discipline.
  • 3-5 years of work experience post-graduation in the agricultural sector
  • A sincere and demonstrable passion to return to the home country and contribute to agricultural development, increased food security, and/or agribusiness development.
  • English language proficiency.
  • Acceptable scores on the GRE and TOEFL exams.
  • Ability to obtain a student visa (F-1) and travel to the USA from the home country.
  • Access to the internet in the home country. For field research, access to appropriate resources for the student in Africa will be made by the faculty mentor.

How to apply: Candidates that hold a position in a scientific organization (e.g. university, national program, international non-profit organization, etc.) in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Uganda are being considered at this time. A two-stage application process is required for the program. Before applying to UD’s graduate program, send the following documents directly to AGRA ( with the subject line “Borel Global Fellows Program.”

1) Statement of interest (2-page max)

2) Resume or curriculum vitae

3) Undergraduate transcripts

4) Up to three letters of reference from individuals who can judge your scholastic capability and potential for research at the graduate level

Following the first stage evaluation by AGRA, candidates will be invited to apply to the University of Delaware. Details regarding UD’s graduate school admission can be found at:

When to apply: The deadline for applications to AGRA is April 20, 2018. Applicants selected for further consideration will be notified by May 15, 2018 regarding how to make a formal application to the University of Delaware.

Financial support provided by the University of Delaware: Each Borel Global Fellow will receive generous financial support including:

  • A stipend to cover living expenses while in Delaware (stipends vary by program; current minimum is $18,000/year)
  • A supplement to be paid upon completion of the program of $5,000
  • A full waiver of tuition for up to 33 credits (currently valued at ~$53,000)
  • Round trip airfare to/from the USA (economy class)
  • Computer allowance of up to $1,000 (to be purchased at Delaware)
  • Reimbursement for the UD application fee ($75)
  • Financial support and travel allowance for the faculty mentor

Students are responsible for purchasing their own health insurance upon arrival to the university; for details, costs and options, see: